Virginia Cancer Specialists (VCS) Now Offering a Newly FDA-Approved Targeted Therapy for Acute Leukemia

VCS Practice Blog

February 04, 2019
Virginia Cancer Specialists » VCS Practice News » Physicians » VCS Practice News » Alex Spira MD PhD FACP » Virginia Cancer Specialists (VCS) Now Offering a Newly FDA-Approved Targeted Therapy for Acute Leukemia

VCS helped lead the way in bringing the promising new therapy gilteritinib to patients with aggressive Acute Leukemia. Alex Spira, MD, PhD, FACP, the VCS director of Research, was the practice’s principal investigator for the therapy’s phase I study. This new therapy targets FLT3 mutation, which causes rapid proliferation and shorter overall survival in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Gilteritinib is now approved to treat relapsed and refractory acute myelogenous leukemia patients.

“With further understanding of the molecular footprint of cancers including acute myelogenous leukemia, we can tailor more targeted options that drive cancers to become aggressive and difficult to control,” said Dr. Dipti Patel-Donnelly, a VCS medical oncologist.

The FLT3 mutation is seen in approximately 20% of patients with myelogenous leukemia that can now be targeted. Based on this research, further studies are ongoing to assess its safety and effectiveness in other avenues.

“It’s an exciting time at Virginia Cancer Specialists in our phase 1 research program,” explained Dr. Spira. “It’s been an honor to participate in the development and offering of these novel therapy options to patients with aggressive AML, giving a diversity of choices that haven’t been there in quite some time.”

“In a disease that has had the same backbone of chemotherapy for 30 years, new targeted agents offer another tool in the fight against leukemia,” noted Dr. Patel-Donnelly.

Virginia Cancer Specialists is very proud of its high-level clinical research program that allows for pivotal studies in treatment options to further improve patient care. Five new targeted agents have been approved by the FDA in the last several years, giving more options for greater personalized care to patients in local communities in Northern Virginia.



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                            [post_content] => Dr. Patel-Donnelly is triple board-certified in medical oncology, hematology, and internal medicine. She completed her fellowship in Medical Oncology and Hematology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Patel-Donnelly received her Doctorate of Medicine and completed her Internal Medicine Internship and Residency from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, New York, and she is a magna cum laude graduate in biochemistry with honors and independent research from Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York.

Dr. Patel-Donnelly has taken an active role at Virginia Cancer Specialists and in the local and medical communities. Dr. Patel-Donnelly holds memberships and appointments in multiple organizations. She is a member of the American Medical Association, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Hematology, and the Medical Society of Virginia. Focusing on a special interest in hematologic malignancies, brain tumors, and stem cell transplant, Dr. Patel-Donnelly has become highly involved in local tumor boards and has served as Section Chief of Hematology/Oncology at Inova Fairfax Hospital and has held a Hematology/Oncology Faculty Clerkship appointment at Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Patel-Donnelly has also received multiple awards and honors which include the Harvard Partners in Excellence Award, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s “Relentless for a Cure” award, Excellence in Teaching Awards, National Institutes of Health Research Fellowship, NASE Achievement Scholarship, and Distinguished Honors and Independent Research in Biochemistry. Dr. Patel-Donnelly has been consistently named as a Top Doctor in publications such as Northern Virginia Magazine and Washingtonian magazine. Additionally, she has been listed as a “Castle Connolly Mid-Atlantic Top Doctor and a Washington Post Super Doctor”. Dr. Patel-Donnelly is a published author and has spoken both at local educational events and at national and local news interviews.

Dr. Patel-Donnelly is a member of several, prestigious, national committees. She is on the highly-selective, national panel tasked with writing Oncology Board questions for the American Board of Internal Medicine, which certifies that medical oncologists have a competent fund of knowledge to be board-certified and practice. She has also been selected to serve on the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Leukemia Guideline Committee, which reviews current research evidence and makes uniform guidelines on treating leukemia. Dr. Patel-Donnelly is currently an Assistant Professor, in the Department of Oncology at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Patel-Donnelly lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and two children. She enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, running, traveling, and reading.

  [post_title] => Dipti Patel-Donnelly, M.D. [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => dipti-patel-donnelly-m-d [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-11 20:03:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-11 20:03:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => physician [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 547 [post_author] => 2 [post_date] => 2017-09-08 15:33:13 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-08 15:33:13 [post_content] => Dr. Alex Spira earned his medical degree from the New York University School of Medicine. He then went on to complete his internship and residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and his medical oncology fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital. During his training, Dr. Spira was granted many awards and honors, and he completed several specialized fellowship programs. Among these honors were the National Institutes of Health Medical Scientist Training Program Fellowship (1990-1997), Merck Corporation Scholarship (1995-1995), Pediatric AIDS Foundation Fellowship (1993- 1995) and Harvard University Scholarship (1987-1990). Dr. Spira has also received his PhD from the New York School of Arts and Sciences. As Director of the Virginia Cancer Specialists (VCS) Research Institute and the Phase I Trial Program, Dr. Spira is actively involved in advancing medicine and offering targeted treatment options for patients. Although his research interests are numerous, Dr. Spira particularly enjoys studying immunotherapy, personalized medicine, GI, thoracic and lung cancer and sarcomas. Dr. Spira is also Co-Chair of the USOncology Thoracic Oncology Committee, Chair of the USOncology Research Executive Committee, and member of the USOncology National Policy Board Executive Committee. Dr. Spira is a faculty member at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and serves as Assistant Professor of Oncology. Throughout his career, Dr. Spira has been recognized as a Top Doctor in Northern Virginia Magazine and Washingtonian magazine for multiple years. In 2014, he received the prestigious “Castle Connolly America’s Top Doctor” award. In his spare time, Dr. Spira enjoys spending time with his family, coaching children’s sports, cycling, and cheering on his favorite New York sports teams.

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